Sharing Our Community
by Walter, BHS Resident
I recently had the opportunity, along with another resident and friend Tracy, to meet with students from Framingham State College. Their visit was part of a class assignment. Tracy and I shared parts of our personal journeys and how we found our way to Bethany Hill School. This gave me an opportunity to reflect on how much my life has changed over the past 10 years and the positive impact that the BHS staff and community has had in my life. As we were sharing with the students, I began to realize how fortunate I am to be in a community where residents strive to be respectful, supportive and accept one another. I knew this about our community, but hearing myself as I spoke and listening to Tracy’s journey, reinforced how unique BHS is.
Before coming to BHS, I lived in various neighborhoods in Boston, some good and not so good. I lived in apartment complexes where I knew a couple of my neighbors and some where I didn’t, even though we lived next to each other for a couple years. Coming to a community like BHS was very new to me and took some adjusting. I was familiar with living in communities where everyone was guarded and kept to themselves, for the most part.
I have spoken to new residents who have shared coming from the same type of communities and experienced the same feelings I did when I first moved here. It’s so great to watch as they become part of the community. Some seem surprised when another resident holds the door for them, or offers to give them a ride to the store. It’s fun to watch a resident become a gardener. Before moving to BHS I knew nothing about gardening. Although I was unable to do one this past summer, I always look forward to the spring knowing it is time to prepare my plot. These things may sound small and trivial to others but to residents they are big and speak volumes about our community. The students were amazed as Tracy and I shared some of the opportunities, the community support and respect and how lives have been transformed at BHS. We gave them a lot to write about for their assignment.
[Not only was Walter moved to write his reflections, but several of the FSU students shared their essays with us, and we’ve included some of their quotes below]
“Economic inequality is a huge problem in the United States. The Bethany Hill School is responding to these inequalities by giving the residents the tools to attend college and overall make healthy decisions for positive changes in their lives. Two stories we heard while at our visit to the Bethany Hill School were very powerful.”
“When Walter was describing the moment he came to the realization that he was homeless, I had to hold back tears. Listening to each detail leading up to this moment was so touching and it was hard not to be effected by it. I noticed the most intense emotion when they described being at BHS for the first time.”
“They are finding neighbors and staff members they can rely on for guidance and support. It is not uncommon for men and women to enter Bethany Hill with physical and psychological baggage, drug addicts, alcoholics, people struggling to find and hold jobs, and single mothers trying to provide for their children which are all welcome there. They are all looking for a home and a safe haven to rebuild the life they were meant to live. “
“Times get hard and the residents support each other because they understand the dedication it takes towards improvement. We never really know what we are capable of doing until someone offers help and encouragement”
Filed Under: Residents